Tips for Morning Sickness

by Angel J. Miller, MSN, CNM

Nausea, with or without vomiting, is known as “morning sickness” but may occur any time of the day or night. Although we do not know exactly why women experience morning sickness, some thoughts are:

• hormonal changes during pregnancy
• low blood sugar
• gastric overload
• slowed movement of the intestines
• enlarged uterus
• emotional factors

Take heart! In most cases morning sickness goes away by the 14th week of pregnancy.

Try the following comfort measures to ease the symptoms:

 Eat small, frequent meals (5-6 a day or on the average of every 2 hours)
• Avoid foods that do not have an appealing smell or taste to you at the time. Eat whatever sounds good. Let someone else do the cooking!
• Avoid strong or offensive odors, spicy, fried or greasy foods
• Restrict fat intake

 Dry crackers, cereal or bread—every time you are up to pee at night and first thing in the morning.
• On bad days, have crackers at the bedside even before getting/sitting up

 Drink or sip ice cold beverages. Some women do better just sucking on ice, and some do better when they add a splash of lemon juice to their cold water.
• Do not drink fluids with meals, do so after
• Do not drink large amounts of fluids at one time; sip on small amounts frequently between meals

 Eat a protein snack just before going to bed, such as cheese & crackers, or peanut butter & toast.

Stop your vitamins and iron supplements (temporarily) if you think they are adding to your morning sickness problem, or try taking the vitamin at bedtime with a snack.

Take a vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) tablet-30-50mg, 3 to 4 times a day-every day initially, then 1-2 times per day until problem has subsided
• Ovaltine is enriched with vitamin B6
• Another suggestion is to take Unisom (doxylamine) 1 tablet
(25 mg) at bedtime-with the vitamin B6. In the morning take ½ a tablet (with the B6). At 2 pm, ½ tablet with vitamin B6. Ask your pharmacist to help you find this medication. It is available over-the-counter and some brands are less expensive that others. In order for this to help, you need to take it regularly not just when you feel sick.

• Or you can take Vitamin B6, 100mg, po, three times a day with Magnesium 500mg, po, twice a day

Sea-Bands (seasickness prevention wrist bands) which are available at most drug stores help many women. Some women swear by them, and others do not find them helpful

• Take ginger. You can find this spice in the health food or vitamin stores. Get the 250 mg capsules. Take one capsule 4 times each day, or try nibbling on ginger snap cookies, sip on ginger tea
• Papaya or papaya tablets, as directed on the bottle
• Suck on fireballs or lemon balls; chewing cinnamon gum
• Alfalfa tablets—2 at bedtime, 2 late in day
• Basil, chamomile, spearmint, or peppermint tea


If these suggestions do not work ask your health care provider about prescription medications that are available. They can make you sleepy; therefore it is wise to try the other remedies first.

**If you ever find that you are among the very few who are unable to keep anything down for 48 hours (even liquids) give us a call. In these extreme cases we recommend that you come into the hospital for IV fluid therapy.